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This is to announce that at the end of December, I will be stepping down as a fiction editor here.

I've been with Strange Horizons for a long time, and remember when it was a little grassroots project, back when hardly anyone believed a free online magazine with a volunteer staff and no corporate backing could ever be taken seriously. When I came aboard in 2003, the magazine was already proving it wasn't just a flash in the pan. We sought out new work by unknown writers, listened for voices we hadn't heard often enough, found and polished the gems, and simply published so much great stuff that Strange Horizons became a valuable part of the field, a place to find a wide mix of wonders and rising stars. We've stayed free and donor-funded and paid professional rates for stories. We've been our own bosses and we've cherished our authors and garnered a loyal community and it's been beautiful. I've loved working here.

Leaving the magazine feels like the end of an era for me — a span of time stitched together by hundreds of weekly phone meetings with my co-editors, Susan Groppi and Jed Hartman. The three of us have worked, fought, leaned on each other, and managed to run a flourishing Fiction department despite (or because of) vastly different personal styles, and I have mad love and respect for them both. I feel very lucky to have spent so much of my life in their company, and especially fortunate to have had Susan as my fabulous editor-in-chief for so many years.

My favorite part, though, has always been the editing itself. Working with an author on a story can be a thing of great joy. Sometimes the process is simple and straightforward; sometimes it ranges into deep, intense, or hilarious discussions of ideas and craft. Whenever we can get down to it, hammer and tongs, to make a story better — what a wonderful relationship that is, editor and author; and what a thrill to find the beating heart of a story together, and strengthen the beat. To all the writers who've gone through this with me at Strange Horizons: thank you, it's been a privilege.

Eight and a half years here has been a good run, and the decision to leave was a tough one for me to make, but I feel like I've done what I set out to do, and now it's time to move on to new projects. I will forever be proud of what we accomplished during these years. I have met dear friends through this magazine, and worked with brilliant writers. All in all, I've had a fantastic time being a Strange Horizons editor. I wish Niall and the crew all the best as the magazine continues to evolve and carry on into the future.

Karen Meisner is an editor of fiction at Strange Horizons.
19 comments on “Stepping Down from Strange Horizons”

Thank you Karen, for your tireless, intelligent, exacting work for us. I will always be so grateful to you for not only the beautiful editing you did on my work but for the important good you did helping to nurture this magazine along. For your vision, and for your support of writers like me.
While I have all the faith in the world in Jed and Susan to carry on, maaaaan this is a tremendous loss for the genre.

I'm sure this was a tough decision and you'll be much missed. On the other hand, I can't wait to see what's next from you. 🙂

Karen, it's hard for me to remember a time when you weren't part of Strange Horizons. Your taste and vision are now inseparable from what Strange Horizons has become, and from what it will evolve into. Thanks for helping so much great fiction find an audience. I cannot wait to see what you do next. I know it's going to be interestingly great.

Karen, yours was one of the hands on the tiller as Strange Horizons became the magazine that inspired me to resume writing fiction. Then you were my first editor, the first person to take a chance on me as a new author. I feel blessed to have gotten to work with you, and ditto Gwenda and Greg: I can't wait to see what comes next. Thank you so much, for everything. I wouldn't be a part of this community if it weren't for you.

C.S.E. Cooney

I remember when Amal El-Mohtar was first describing me to you, and the way you edited stories. She likened you to a jewel-crafter, careful and sure. Someone who would take all the rough edges off a story and make it glow. You are pretty wonderful, and whatever comes next for you is bound to be breathtaking.

You've done great work at SH, Karen. Thanks for it all, and I look forward to following your path from here!

I'm so glad we met through Strange Horizons, Karen, and even though I'm selfishly sad that you're leaving, I can't wait to see what you do next. *hugs*

Thanks for all your amazing work on SH, Karen. I can't wait to see what you do next... although I hope it involves giving yourself a good, long break to do nothing but relax first. You've certainly earned it.
I'm now going to sing something from CHESS in your honor.

Oh wow. The end of an era. You'll be missed, Karen.

Meghan McCarron

Karen was my first editor. Hell, she gave me my first "personal" rejection. Her careful, thoughtful, and insightful work on all four of my SH stories not only made the stories better, but made me a better writer. I am so thankful I got to work with you, Karen, and can't wait to see what you do next!

You will be missed! Your skills as an editor are amazing, and I was lucky to have worked with you on my stories. You have truly had a tremendous impact on the well-respected publication Strange Horizons has become.

David Schwartz

I am sad to hear this, and it will take me some time to get used to the idea, but you have done great work here and you will do great work elsewhere. I hope this means you will have more time for your own wonderful writing.

Thanks for all the work you've done. You will be missed. Good luck in your new endeavors.

Ken Liu

Thank you, Karen. You'll be missed, but good luck now to your future projects!

Karen Meisner

I'm really moved by the comments here -- thank you all. Your kind words mean so much to me.

You were a wonderful editor to work with on my story, Karen - you made the story better. I wish you all the luck in the world on your future endeavors.


We will, of course, miss you! We're sad to see you go. It's been great working with you.
(Sorry to be brief; am tired, and we've talked on the phone so it feels weird to be posting a comment publicly. But it felt weirder not to say anything in response to your lovely post here.)
(And it also feels weird to say goodbye when I know we'll continue to be friends and talk regularly. So this is a farewell to you only as a Strange Horizons colleague.)

You'll be sorely missed! I really enjoyed working with you. Thank you, and best of luck.


Ack. Really? Darn. Thank you for the great work you've done.

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